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May 4th, 2015 -  The Vines are fine and so is the wine.  (There’s got to be a song lyric there in that line.)  

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks at Bahrstead’s.  Lots of activities to report in and we couldn’t feel more happy, accomplished, excited, thrill, exhausted, relieved, and thankful for everything that seems to be falling into place.  Let’s get started with has felt like a whirlwind summary of activities.

Finally, Spring has really kicked into full gear in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.  Temperatures are starting to average with highs in the mid sixties and low seventies and that means everything is budding and leafing out.  It’s cool to see our tree canopy coming back to life again with the new leaves getting pushed out and moving our brown landscapes to wonderful shades of green with lots of other colors coming into peek.  Even seeing the green grass pushing the yellows flowers of the dandelions are great to see compared to the matted down lawns that we have to look at for a couple of months during our thaw season.  Our rhododendrons are full bloom, the lilacs are  about to bloom and there is Bud Break on our Grape Vines.


For those of you who are not familiar with Bahrstead’s, our main activity is our 1.5 acre vineyard that was established in 2010.   The Vineyard has over 700 vines on the property and it drives the majority of our activities around them.  We have written about our late Winter and early Spring pruning activities in preparation for this week to see how the plants are going to do for this growing season.  Each vine was pruned, clippings dragged to the burn pile to remove any diseased wood, and each cane of the vine was tied back to the main cordon wire.  We started in late February and finished in mid April.  It’s the most labor intensive part of the vineyard maintenance and critical aspect of it in my opinion. 

Once that is done and to walk through when the new buds push out, they are great to see and quite a relief for the growers.  There is a lot that we have learned over six seasons of growing vines and every year is different.  This year there are pockets of vines that are going to have to re-establish themselves, other areas that will need some new plants, and most of the other areas where we are going to have a massive crop load.  It’s exciting to see.  Now we just cross our fingers like all good farmers, hope for good weather and if we are lucky enough, get a nice harvest.  Stay posted or check it out if you are in the area and book a visit, get a glass of wine and take a walk through the vines.  It’s the best way to experience this lifestyle.

Speaking of Wine….  Yes, Vinmark Estates is now one of Minnesota’s newest farm wineries.  As mentioned, it has been a whirlwind of activities and last week we got our last major approval from the State of Minnesota to operate a Farm Winery on the premise.  Vinmark Estates is the operating company that purchases the grapes from Bahrstead’s and other local growers interested in selling their grape harvest.  The approval process is arduous, demanding, and expensive and rightfully so.  This is serious business and we are serious about what we are doing in both growing and producing the best wine that we can and at the same time absolutely ecstatic about where this journey is now going to take us now.  We have all heard a couple of sayings, like “work hard, play hard” or “Devine intervention”.  Well, I think we see life as work hard, play harder and for us in the Northland, it’s “Ya, DaVine Invention”.  Meaning, you have to bust your ass off in life to make it, but make sure you have more fun when you are working at it.  That is what is cool with our life, the Vines and Wine have given us many enjoyable clinking-of-the-glass moments, but more importantly, its opened our eyes and minds to “DaVine Invention”  in that we see endless opportunities of where our lives can take us more than any times in our lives.  That’s more that just cool, that is everything…. A wonderful life!  

For those who wonder, how did Vinmark Estates got its name, well, we live in Southeast Washington County in the Township of Denmark.  We’re about 20 minutes southeast of the State Capitol in St. Paul, for those who don’t live in Minnesota.  We wanted to create a name that recognized our wine, location and our pursuit of quality.  So Vinmark is a culmination that hits all three.  Vin is the French word for Wine.  Vinmark rhymes with Denmark to recognize our township that has been very supportive to us in our venture.  Finally, that last element of the word was “mark” as in “hitting the mark of excellence”.    Vinmark Estates is all about making great wine in a beautiful location in our world where we can work hard, play harder and have some DaVine Invention.

We will be cranking out some upcoming inaugural information about Vinmark Estates soon of when we get our wine bottled here in the next couple of weeks. The goal is to do a soft opening to launch this business by Memorial Day weekend if it works out that way.  So stay posted to www.VinmarkEstates.com.  

So that is the big news, but there is still way cooler information coming on other activities at Bahrstead’s as well. 

We will be releasing our meat chickens from the brooder to the chicken run.  We will discuss the rest of that process from feeding them out to butchering.  I will be checking out the Whizbang Plucker to see if I can build one of these contraptions to help with butchering.  We will also be releasing our Turkeys out into their run.  We did get our rabbits and we’ll dive into that discussion topic.  Some of our raised beds got planted with more on the way.  We will also be showing a backyard project of building out the raised beds that we recently did and hear from the homeowner to get her critical comments.  We also picked up not one but two colonies of bees for Bahrstead’s this last weekend and got them in their new home.  

With everything blooming, growing, we certainly have got OurStead to Grow, Raise and Thrive.  So get moving to achieve your aspirations.  Good luck with your endeavors this growing season.  Anytime you want to see what we are doing, stay tuned.  If you are in the metro area, you can book an appointment in a few weeks, get a glass of wine and get even more inspired with your HomeStead .

If we can do it, we know you can do it too!